Aarish Ansari - India's Best Freestyle Footballer
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Freestyler Aarish Ansari- Discusses Being a Guinness World Record Holder, Injury and Juggling between a Job and Football

Mohit Raj


You are mesmerized by Cristiano Ronaldo’s dribbling skills. You can’t help yourself as you keep staring at the videos as Ronaldinho does all the tricks and gets past the defenders with ease. Neymar beating a series of defenders with his Brazilian football skills is just a treat while you don’t like it when Lionel Messi beats just one or two defenders, you want him to dribble past at least 5-6 defenders every time.

Now just imagine, seeing a game where there’s no defender to dribble past and no goal post to put the ball in. You just have a time limit and a football and you have to do mesmerize the judges as much as possible with your moves, keeping the ball glued to your body. That’s what Mumbai’s freestyler Aarish Ansari does.

He is a Guinness World Record Holder for the most number of football crossovers (crossing the ball around his body) in 30 seconds while sitting. He managed to do 58—a feat for which he trained for over a year. He is an Indian All Round Freestyle Champion and has won numerous local competitions across India.

However, there are not enough supporters of the art. He can do anything with the ball at his feet but is forced to work with his hands instead. He has started working as a content writer to make a living.

Injury turned him into freestyler

It all started when Aarish was injured while participating in a football tournament hosted by Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) in 2011. He couldn’t recover from the injury and the field which he worshipped once merely became a temple which he could not enter anymore.
He went off the field and he began juggling a football at home to pass time. “Freestyling became a stress buster for him,'' he said. Increasingly, his day started revolving around the football.

One Man Army

Aarish is India's representative at the Asian Freestyle Football Federation, the sport’s official governing body in Asia – where he is responsible for developing and promoting the sport in India. Can you believe is associated with the International Cricket Board (ICC) or even the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and still struggling to make money?

He conducts the national level tournaments, with the help of a few friends to promote the sports in the country. He is the Country Leader of Freestyle Football Association and runs academies to train the kids who want to follow him.

Job has disturbed training schedule

Aarish said he used to train for around 2 hrs in the morning and another hour in the evening initially but now the training time has reduced drastically due to the job. He also met the kids and his friends almost every day. However, the meeting is now limited to weekends.
He said It’s tough initially in terms of endurance as you have to practice to stop the ball from falling to the ground for minutes. You have to do many tricks within given a time slot. But after sometimes it becomes more of a mental thing. You have to come up with new creative ideas to stand out and beat the opponents.

Fast&Up

Aarish said the association with nutritional brand Fast&Up has helped him tremendously- both in terms of his health and in terms of building a credible profile and getting sponsorship. He said the products are amazing and help him recover after long and tiring training sessions. He said Fast&Up has also helped financially. It’s tough paying from own pockets and Fast&Up has reduced the burden to some extent. Moreover, it has helped gain credibility and he has also got offers from other brands to sponsor things.

Aarish doesn’t want the kids to be in dark and not know that there is something called freestyle football as well and that’s why he is building the sports at the grassroots level. He started with 1 academy in Mumbai before expanding it 2. With the support and resources, he wants to expand it to the whole country.